It seems there may be a bit of a retro-continuity error in one of my personal favorite Star Trek scenes, which I noticed just today.

Show me the Enterprise!

Click the picture above for a YouTube video. A transcript of the pertinent bits is below, emphasis added.

SCOTTY: The Enterprise! Show me the bridge of the Enterprise, you chattering piece of...

COMPUTER: There have been five Federation ships with that name. Please specify by registry number.

SCOTTY: N, C, C, one, seven, oh, one. No bloody A, B, C, or D.

The computer is specifically stating that there have been (only) five Federation ships named Enterprise. Scotty effectively names all of the ones we'd been introduced to by the time of that episode: NCC-1701, NCC-1701-A, NCC-1701-B, NCC-1701-C, and NCC-1701-D. However, this of course omits the NX-01.

Out-of-universe, this can easily be attributed to the history of the television series. However, I'm wondering if there might also be a (possibly un-intended) in-universe explanation that allows the computer's statement to still be accurate? For example, (and I only ask because I'm not too familiar with the Enterprise series just yet) does the NX-01 Enterprise actually pre-date the existence of the United Federation of Planets?

  • 10
    Roughly 90% of the fourth season was all about putting together the early building blocks of the coalition that would eventually become the Federation. Multiple episodes before that had referenced a future "Federation" that would eventually come to pass. Sep 27, 2014 at 13:59
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    You really want to smash continuity with Scotty, why did Scotty think that Kirk came to rescue him when he was on Enterprise B at the time when Kirk was presumed to have died with the Nexus?
    – Xantec
    Sep 27, 2014 at 16:20

4 Answers 4


The Enterprise NX-01 pre-dates the Federation.

Memory alpha says:

The NX-01 was the first NX-class starship, launched by the United Earth Starfleet in 2151

However the United Federation of planets wasn't founded until 2161

It's likely the computer only displayed the most relevant group/class of ships as there were an additional 20+ ships when you combine the HMS Enterprise and the USS Enterprise not to mention steam boats and space shuttles.

  • @Izkata it does? I don't really watch the show, but my friend does.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jul 29, 2012 at 23:35
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    Older fans dislike ENT because it toys with the history established in TNG/etc. However, for example, the two species who make an appearance in ENT but we don't officially have First Contact with until TNG, are never named onscreen - so the established history is preserved.
    – Izkata
    Jul 29, 2012 at 23:36
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    @Gaius Only the final ENT episode took place on the NCC-1701 D's holodeck. The dilemma Riker was trying to sort through, to figure out what actions he should take, happened in TNG 7x12, The Pegasus
    – Izkata
    Sep 28, 2014 at 16:20
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    @Izkata - Honestly, I think they really missed the boat on that one too. Given the ages of Riker and Troi, it would have made far more sense to place the event a few days before Nemesis, with Riker deciding whether or not to take the Titan offer. As it is, they both look 20 years too old for the Pegasus timeframe.
    – Omegacron
    Jan 23, 2015 at 21:33
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    I think a better question is why the computer wouldn't assume you meant the current Enterprise if you asked to see the bridge of the Enterprise Jun 25, 2015 at 19:08

Yes, the NX-01 does pre-date the founding of the Federation. The NX-01 launched in 2151, while the United Federation of Planets was not established until 2161. The NX-01's crew played a major part in the founding of the Coalition of Planets (the Federation's precursor) in 2155. The founding of the Coalition is shown in Enterprise's final episode.

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    That was the founding of the Federation. Sep 27, 2014 at 14:00
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    Lightness is right, talks to form the Coalition of Planets was shown just before the finale, in Demons, then the jump ahead in the finale was for the Federation
    – Izkata
    Oct 1, 2014 at 4:26

It has been established that the NX-xx designation is given to experimental vessels. Take the Excelsior for instance. It was also designated as NX- because the transwarp engines were untested as yet.

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    Welcome to SFFSE! I can see your point, but it doesn't quite address the question; if you could reword your point so as to make the connection more explicit, it would improve your answer quality. Jun 27, 2015 at 0:10

I'll argue it was a Federation vessel. The Federation was the successor government to the United Earth government. That generally means that UE's property would become Federation property. So legally speaking, NX-01 was a Federation vessel.

However, it was not built after the founding of the Federation, and thus it wouldn't be in their standard vessel manifest. That could account for the computer skipping it.

Furthermore, NX-01 was a NX vessel, not an NCC vessel, and as this answer discusses: Is there any out-of-universe meaning to starship registry numbers? , those are under a semi-separate registration system. That could also account for the computer skipping it.

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    The NX-01 was not a Federation vessel. Firstly, you're argument is unsound because planets retain their own property rights when they join the Federation. Secondly, the NX-01 was decommissioned the same year the Federation was founded (2161), so there would have been negligible opportunity for it to be recommissioned in service of the Federation. Oct 18, 2017 at 0:21

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